You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Indianapolis TV Station Buys CW Affiliation After Losing CBS to Tribune

Indianapolis’ WISH-TV took a hit in August with the loss of its longtime CBS affiliation agreement to Tribune-owned rival WTTV-TV amid hardball renewal negotiations with the Eye network.

Now WISH has had to take the step of buying the rights to a CW affiliation from the same station that snatched away its CBS deal.

WTTV will switch from CW to CBS programming on Jan. 1. WTTV had planned to move CW’s programing to its digital subchannel, until the sale to WISH transpired.

The move is better for CW, which is on a roll with buzzy new shows such as “The Flash” (pictured), as WISH has strong coverage in the nation’s 26th largest market. WISH is owned by Media General, which just completed a merger with the Lin TV station group. The loss of CBS affiliation in Indianapolis, an NFL market, forced a revise of the merger pricetag due to the expected revenue hit at WISH.

The CW sale is a score for Tribune, as the sale money is gravy on top of the station’s improved economic prospects in moving to CBS, which will bring Indianapolis Colts games to WTTV.

The shuffle in Indianapolis was closely watched by Wall Street as a sign of growing tensions between networks and station affiliates. Networks want affils to help pay for highly rated programming by forking over a big percentage of retransmission consent revenues. Tribune and other groups have been bulking up in an effort to increase their clout in carriage negotiations with network partners as well as MVPDs.

Tribune remains the CW’s largest affiliate group outside of CBS, which jointly owns the network with Warner Bros. Affiliation deals for Tribune’s 13 CW affils are up at the end of 2016, so it is believed that WISH bought out the final two years on Tribune’s existing contract for Indianapolis.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement, which is financially accretive to Tribune Media and good for the CW network with whom we remain a strong partner,” said Tribune Media prexy-CEO Peter Liguori.

Media General said Monday that in addition to the deal for WISH, it has set long-term CW affiliation renewals for its stations in 16 markets, including Albuquerque, N.M. and Buffalo, N.Y. The pact also calls for Media General to launch CW on digital subchannels in two smaller markets: Springfield/Holyoke, Mass., and Hattiesburg/Laurel, Miss.

“The CW has been a longstanding and valued partner for many years and we are pleased to continue building upon our relationship,” said Media General prexy-CEO Vincent Sadusky.

Separately, Tribune Media on Monday announced the sale of the 60-acre property in Baltimore that houses the printing facility for the Baltimore Sun, the daily newspaper that was part of Tribune prior to the split of the company’s TV and publishing assets earlier this year. Tribune Media is expected to net $30 million from the $46.5 million sale to an undisclosed buyer.

More TV

  • James Holzhauer Jeopardy

    Why James Holzhauer Is Bad for 'Jeopardy!' (Column)

    James Holzhauer, who is closing in on a million dollars of game-show winnings, is on track to become the most successful “Jeopardy!” contestant of all time. And he’s become such a dominant force that a historic run has come to seem, as television, boring. Over the course of thirteen episodes and counting, Holzhauer’s methods and [...]

  • Joe Ianniello

    CBS Suspends CEO Search, Extends Ianniello in Role Through 2019

    CBS Corp. said it would suspend the months-long search it has conducted for a new leader for the company since the departure of Leslie Moonves and would instead extend the tenure of its acting chief, Joseph Ianniello, through the end of 2019. “Joe has demonstrated exceptional leadership during this time of unprecedented transition at CBS. [...]

  • Wanda Sykes Silicon Valleywood

    Wanda Sykes on Doing Business With Netflix: 'They Moved That Comma'

    MENLO PARK, Calif. — Wanda Sykes wears a lot of hats as a comedian, writer, producer and entrepreneur, and that gives her a keen sense of the ever-growing content marketplace. She also has a very clear understanding of what she’s worth in dollars and cents, as she shared Tuesday in her Q&A at Variety’s Silicon [...]

  • Jenna Hager Hoda Kotb

    NBC News Sets Joanne LaMarca as EP, 'Today' Fourth Hour

    Just after NBC News recalibrated the fourth our of its daytime “Today” program, it has named a new executive producer to oversee the show. Joanne LaMarca, a longtime “Today” staffer who left NBC News in 2017 after a long run, will return as the new head of the 10 a.m. hour that is now led by [...]

  • Adam McKay photogrpahed at the PMC

    HBO to Team With Adam McKay on Scripted Showtime Lakers Series

    HBO is bringing the Showtime Lakers to the scripted arena with “Showtime,” Variety has confirmed. The series, which has received a pilot order at the cabler, hails from Adam McKay, who will direct. “Showtime” will be based on Jeff Pearlman’s non-fiction book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.” “Jeff Pearlman’s [...]

  • The 100 -- "Sanctum" -- Image

    'The 100' Boss Breaks Down Season 6's New World and Theme of 'Can We Do Better?'

    When “The 100” returns for its sixth season on April 30, the CW drama will thrust its characters into a brand new world. After escaping a no-longer habitable Earth at the end of the fifth season, the characters went into cryostasis until the planet was ready for life again. One hundred and twenty-five years later, [...]

  • David Milch Deadwood

    'Deadwood' Creator David Milch Diagnosed With Alzheimer's

    David Milch, the creator of “Deadwood,” revealed his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in an interview published Tuesday. “As best I understand it, which is minimally, I have a deterioration in the organization of my brain,” Milch told Vulture. “And it’s progressive. And in some ways discouraging. In more than some ways — in every way I can [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content